MATRIX Personalized Fitness
More than just your muscles


Carolyn Rankin 0:00

Hi, I'm Carolyn.

Shane Sauer 0:02

And I'm Shane from MATRIX Personalized Fitness. In this video in our Foundations Of Fitness series, we're going to be working on the legs. That means the glutes, the hamstrings, and quads.

Shane Sauer 0:15

Now that we're moving into the legs, we're going to learn how to stretch and squeeze the main movers of the legs, the quads, the glutes and the hamstrings. We're then going to get to explore those in the functional movement of the lunge. You'll learn how each muscle can be used in that movement, and how to isolate them within it.

Shane Sauer 0:31

The first muscle I'm going to show you today is how to squeeze your glute musculature. I'm going to have you turn and face the other way. So from here, we always want to come into a stretch position first. So Carolyn, what I'd like you to do is to pull your leg up and across your body. And you can use the opposite side hand to help draw it up a little bit higher. So it's not giving you the biggest stretch, right, but you can feel some sensation through here.

Carolyn Rankin 0:53

Mmm Hmm...

Shane Sauer 0:54

So that's the stretch for the glute. Now to engage just the glute itself, what I'm going to have you do is release the leg. Keep a little knee bend. Bring the knee back underneath of your hip. So from here, you're going to rotate the thigh toward the outside. You're going to start to pull the thigh backwards. And then kind of like a hockey player, like an ice skater try and push the link out to the side. And you really want to feel the squeeze up in through here.

Carolyn Rankin 1:17

I got it!

Shane Sauer 1:17

Go ahead and pull in the knee back up and across for the stretch. And I'm going to have you do that one more time, because there's one more important piece. You want to keep the pelvis stable as you're pulling the thigh back, rotating it and pressing it out. Because when the pelvis starts to tip, you might feel it up into your low back. And we want to avoid that part. So you just want to use the muscles of the glute. You got it?

Carolyn Rankin 1:36

Oh, yeah!

Shane Sauer 1:36

Cool. Come on back into the stretch. So that's your glute max stretch. And again, if you're at home trying this, you can put your hand on the wall, so you have a little bit of balance.

Shane Sauer 1:49

The next muscle that we're going to move through is the quad. So the quads are the muscles on the front of the leg. And quad means four muscles. Three of these muscles start down at the patella, and then come up through the mid leg. The fourth muscle starts at the patella and comes all the way up and over the hip joint. And we're going to get to feel both of those separately. To stretch the quad, Carolyn is going to bend her knee and pull her heel towards her butt. Then just gently start to pull the thigh a little further back, that's going to give you a nice opening across the front of the leg. Right?

Carolyn Rankin 2:16

Oh yeah...

Shane Sauer 2:16

We're going to work on the first three muscles initially. Go ahead and release the foot. And then just start to straighten your knee and kick it a little bit forward and try to really tighten up across the thigh itself. Think about getting that a little bit tighter if you can't. There you go! And do you feel the big squeeze?

Carolyn Rankin 2:30

Uh huh!

Shane Sauer 2:30

Awesome. Now if you want to get the fourth part of the muscle, pull the leg up a little higher. You should feel that kick into the hip flexing part of the muscle, you got that one?

Carolyn Rankin 2:37

I do.

Shane Sauer 2:38

Awesome! Go ahead and come back and feel a stretch from that. Reviewing that just one more time, we'll kick the leg through, squeezing the quad at the bottom three portions in and around the knee. And then to get the fourth one, we bring it a little bit higher, to feel it up in towards the hip. Great job.

Carolyn Rankin 2:54

Thank You!

Shane Sauer 2:54

Now, the hamstrings are the opposing pair to the quadriceps. When you're going to do the squeezing actions for the hamstrings, this is one of those muscles that has a tendency to cramp. So, you want to start slow and go light, making sure you don't go too much and get a cramp. You'll build up your strength over time. So you're ready to give this one a shot?

Carolyn Rankin 3:05


Carolyn Rankin 3:13

All right, I'm going to have you turned a little bit this way. You can either put your foot up on the wall bars or up in my hand. This is how we stretch the hamstring. Notice it looks exactly like the quad squeeze, but we have her up on the wall bar, so she doesn't have to worry about squeezing the muscles to create the stretch for the hamstring. Do you feel the stretch on the back of the leg, here?

Carolyn Rankin 3:32

Mmm hmm...

Shane Sauer 3:32

Perfect. So now from here, we'll have you take the foot off. Holding on for balance. Think about initially pulling your heel towards your butt. That's going to start creating some of the squeeze down through here. Now, what I want you to do, keeping the pelvis stable (that's really important), try to pull the thigh straight back. And you should feel that move up the length of the hamstring towards the glute.

Carolyn Rankin 3:33

Uh huh!

Shane Sauer 3:52

Alright. Go ahead and bring the leg forward again. Keep your hand on that and just kind of pull it towards me. There you go. It's a nice release, right?

Carolyn Rankin 3:58

Mmm hmm...

Shane Sauer 3:59

And then I'll have you come back in. Think heel the butt. Thigh pulling back. Getting the full squeeze through the back of the thigh right here. Awesome. Stretch that one out.

Shane Sauer 4:13

Because each one of these muscles crosses multiple joints, they do a lot of different and complex actions. What we're going to do now is move into a lunge where every single one of the muscles is being used. But, we're going to learn how to focus on using just one muscle within that movement. So are you ready to give this one a shot?

Carolyn Rankin 4:29

Let's do it!

Shane Sauer 4:30

Put one foot in front and one foot behind. When we sink down into the lunge, we're looking for a 90-90 position. So we want the front knee right over the shoe laces. Move the back knee in just a tiny little bit, so it's right underneath of the hip. That's our 90-90 position. So, if we're going to use the glutes on this first round, I want Carolyn to drive through her heel and as she stands up. Trying to push her hips forward, up over her knee. Really focusing on squeezing that glute. Could you feel that?

Carolyn Rankin 4:57

Uh Huh!

Shane Sauer 4:58

Cool. Go ahead and step on back again. Try one more of those. Drive to heel down and push the hips through. Feel the squeeze? Awesome. Relax a moment. So did you feel the glute squeezing?

Carolyn Rankin 5:10


Shane Sauer 5:11

That's a tough one for a lot of people to connect to and get into. So, really nice job with that. It will oftentimes take practice to get it. Did you feel any of the other muscles working?

Carolyn Rankin 5:20

Yeah, I mean.. they start to stabilize.

Shane Sauer 5:23

They are all working in this exercise. But again, it's where you're putting your focus. So this time, let's try to put the focus into the quad and see if you can feel it more than the glute this time.

Carolyn Rankin 5:32


Shane Sauer 5:32

So step back into your lunge. Sinking in low. Now as you come up, I want you instead of trying to drive the hips through and push through the heel, just think about getting the knee straight. So stand up and really straighten the knee. And you should feel that the squeeze through the front of the leg a little bit more than anywhere else.

Carolyn Rankin 5:47


Shane Sauer 5:48

Go ahead and step on back again. Try it just one more time. Squeezing, straightening the knee, feeling the squeeze through the quad. Did you get that one?

Carolyn Rankin 5:56


Shane Sauer 5:56

Did it feel different than when you were doing it for the glute?

Carolyn Rankin 5:59

A lot, yeah.

Shane Sauer 5:59

But the exercise is still the same thing. So where you put your focus really matters a lot.

Shane Sauer 6:05

The last little piece, we're going to do the hamstrings. Now this one is more challenging in this position because the quads and the glutes are dominant in the exercise. But the hamstring still helps. What I want you to do for this one is instead of straightening the knee, or pushing down through the heel, I want you to think about trying to pull this foot back. It's not going to move, but you're trying that pulling back action so that your body rolls over the top of it.

Carolyn Rankin 6:29

I feel that already.

Shane Sauer 6:31

Go ahead and start to pull back on the heel and let yourself step up and through. Ideally, you would have felt that a little bit more in the back of the leg, here.

Carolyn Rankin 6:37


Shane Sauer 6:38

Go ahead and come back in one more time. And again, heels pulling back to bring your hips up and over the top.

Carolyn Rankin 6:44

Oh yeah!

Shane Sauer 6:44

That brings in a little bit more hamstring activation, you could tell that, right?

Carolyn Rankin 6:48

Yeah, [laughs].

Shane Sauer 6:48

So those are the main muscles of the legs that you're going to be working in all your different functional movements, lunges, squats, etc. They're all active in these exercises. Depending on what you're trying to achieve within your exercise, it's important to know how to squeeze the different muscles and which ones to be squeezing at any given time. So when you have that knowledge, that's where you're going to get the most out of your workouts and you're going to get your biggest results.